Thursday, June 28, 2007

Discount Bin Finds

Predator vs Magnus, Robot Fighter #1-2 -- Two of the big players in the 90s, Dark Horse (who's still kicking it solid today) and Valiant (who one can imagine is lurking in the shadows, waiting to strike after the Acclaim fiasco) join up to bring us this two part series about warrior's honor, the hunt, and duty.

In the 40th century, on the continent-spanning city of NorthAm, a group of rich and powerful 'robot hunters' get their jolly from stalking and blasting robots. But when one of their number becomes the prey for a Predator, Magnus is called in to save the day. But will Magnus, whose disgust with the "Cloud Cloppers" of NorthAm is evident, do the right thing? Or will he let the Predator finish its hunt? Shooter and Ostrader cover all the bases here, as we get to see Magnus 1) fight robots, 2) bemoan the rich and powerful of NorthAm, and 3) mack it on Leeja, and we get to see the Predator 1) hunt people, 2) kill people, and 3) make trophies out of people. Sounds about right to me. What more could you ask for? Well, I suppose you could ask for a Robot-Fighter-fu versus Alien-kata throw down, and you get that as well. Lee Weeks' art is solid, but has that sketchy, almost washed-out look a lot of Valiants had at this point. It's not bad, but to a younger reader, used to the glossy and shiny colors of todays comic books, will be taken aback.

Magnus was always a fun series to me, since with the exception of Rai it was pretty much out on its own, telling Sci-fi stories which read like a lightweight version of Phillip K. Dick but with more kung-fu. And really, my main criticism of Dick's work has always been the lack of robots being chopped in half by a guy in one piece and white go-go boots. It's a basic concept but it works well; there's a lot of stories to be told given the setting and premise alone, and the Robot Fighter was one of Valiant's main draws for the life of the company. Similarly, in the 90s Dark Horse was more than content to mine their horror and sci-fi licenses (including Aliens, The Terminator, and even Robocop) as much as possible. It seemed like there was a constant stream of new Predator miniseries. That was more my brother's area than mine, but they must have been doing something right.

The story sounds generic and to a certain extent it is, but its still a lot of fun. Seeing the Predator being hunted down by PolRobs is neat (if totally ineffective from a strategic standpoint), and the revelation as to why the Predator is there is intriguing. Plus we get to see two icons of the "Big Indies" square off. A fun if ultimately meaningless romp, I'd gladly recommened this to fans of both Predator and Magnus.

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